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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY              317

required involved a reversal of all the ordinary prejudices and
practices which even its most enthusiastic adherents found
difficult to make; and, in any case, time \vas required for the
elimination of the crudities which obscured the essential truth
in it, and prevented its application under the actual conditions
of educational work. But with all this the individual conception
of education steadily gained ground as a directing ideal, more
especially in German-speaking countries. Most notably, we see
it beginning to come to clearness in the theorizing of Kant, and,
later, attaining practical definiteness through the empirical
gropings after right methods by which Pestalozzi succeeded in
establishing schools more or less in accord with child nature.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) has been called Rousseau's
greatest disciple. It may be doubtful whether the statement
does not exaggerate Kant's general obligation to Rousseau, but
it certainly applies to his views on education. The Emile came to
him as a revelation. With Rousseau's other writings, it gave him a
new conception of the dignity and worth of man as man, and helped
to set him on the train of thought that led to the critical philosophy.
When he had to lecture on pedagogy in the course of his pro-
fessorial duties at Konigsberg in 1776, he was still under the spell
of Rousseau. (His first text-book, it is interesting to note, was
Basedow's Method Book. He was a warm admirer of the Philan-
thropinum, and wrote an article in unqualified commendation of
it in 1777.) But while he borrowed freely from the Emile in
certain sections of his lectures—as is shown by the somewhat
fragmentary notes published under the title On Pedagogy > the year
before his death—there are some significant differences between
his point of view and that of Rousseau. He accepts the idea of
education according to nature, even thinks of the initial dispositions
of the child as directed towards goodness, and counsels freedom
for physical and mental growth in the first years of life. But he
distinguishes more sharply than his master between the first
animal nature and the human nature that requires education for
its making. In consequence of this, he insists on the necessity
for constraint being put on the child's impulses, and even for the
moralizing of him by teaching him definite maxims of conduct.
He justifies this departure from Rousseau by arguing that there
need be no antagonism between liberty and constraint. The aim
of education, according to him, is to make the child capable of